A third Covid wave of a magnitude comparable to the first two is unlikely to hit India, AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria said Tuesday as he underlined that absence of surge in cases at the moment suggests that vaccines are still protecting against the virus and there is no need for a booster dose for now.
Speaking at the launch of a book “Going Viral: Making of Covaxin – The Inside Story”, authored by ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava, Guleria said the way the vaccines are holding up in terms of preventing severity and hospital admission, chances of any huge wave with large admissions is declining with each passing day.
“It is unlikely that a third wave of COVID-19 of a magnitude comparable to the first and second will hit India. With time the pandemic will take an endemic form. We’ll continue to get cases but the severity will be highly reduced,” he said.
On the need for a booster dose, he said there is no surge in cases as such at the moment which suggests that vaccines are still protecting against coronavirus. “Therefore there is no need for a vaccine booster dose or third dose for now.”
NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr VK Paul said the decision on a third dose should be based on science.
“There are studies being done on boosters we are going through datas and research. This is work in progress,” he said, underlining the completion of second dose for India’s adult population and those who have not taken vaccine making them take it is the priority for the government for now.
He also said the pandemic is not over and it won’t be extinguished in future but might reach an endemic form.
If the virus at all chooses to change its characteristics and take a different dimension all our preparations could be dented, Dr Paul said.
“But definitely we are in a much better prepared position now be in terms of health infrastructure. But we can’t afford to lower our guard and should continue with following Covid appropriate behaviour,” he advised.
Bhargava, who spoke at length about his book, published by Rupa, said there is no scientific evidence so far to support the need for a booster vaccine dose against COVID-19.
Taking about India’s fight against COVID-19, he said there was clarity and sincerity in the work of scientists, the government and people in the last one and half years.
There have been learnings from the pandemic for people and government which includes strengthening health facilities and developing a robust system of surveillance, he added.